The initiative of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in raising organic vegetables for Onam will make an impact on the vegetable demand in rural areas, says party district secretary V.N. Vasavan.
The venture, part of an initiative being taken up Statewide, has been a learning experience for the CPI(M) leadership. The first phase of the campaign commenced last March when party members were asked to take up vegetable cultivation on the stretches of land owned by them, in the backyard of houses in towns and on terrace. A technical committee, comprising retired Agriculture Department officers and farm experts, oversaw the first phase and came out with a more effective protocol, says Mr. Vasavan.
In the second phase, in addition to encouraging individuals to take up vegetable cultivation, the party sought the services of various cooperative banks and took nearly 30 acres of land on lease. “Land has been taken on lease, in certain cases by cooperative banks and in others, by party leaders,” he says.
Cultivation on leased land has been taken up at Parathode, Vaikom, Manjoor, Elikkulam, and Cheeranchira, near Changanassery.
The party itself provided seeds and fertilizers. In addition to traditional Kerala vegetables, cultivation of plantain and tapioca has also been taken up. The process has been monitored by a ward-level committee.
That the campaign is a success has been proved by the fact that instead of 50 outlets the party planned, 55 have been opened already. “There is great demand from the people,” he says adding this would not end up as a one-shot campaign aimed at this Onam. “Once we taste the vegetables untainted by chemical pesticides, we will get hooked by them. That itself is the biggest gain from the campaign,” Mr. Vasavan adds.